Monthly Archives: August 2016

“Who Shot Sports?” Javan Emory

What I really loved about this exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum was the story told about each photo, about each photographer and about how and why they made or captured the photo. I was able to spend a good amount of time with most all the images, looking at them and then reading about them which gave me a deeper understanding about the historical context, the photographer’s views and the reasons  why each photographer worked within the genre of sports photography, what they looked for and whose work they were inspired by. I was excited to view this exhibit but I had not been expected to be so absorbed by it. I’m not a sports fanatic in the least but I do love photography and the power behind images that capture the magic and majesty of the sports player in motion and in stillness.

Although I tend to love taking photos of work at exhibitions, particularly those that restrict them, (heh) I went to this one knowing that I wanted to take everything in and not be distracted by the pressure to capture anything at all. So much work had already gone into the images selected for this show. I just wanted to take it all in.

The only photo I did take was of an image in the very beginning of the exhibit of a man named Javan Emory by an anonymous photographer. The monochromatic photo of a Black man with the catcher’s mask on, posed firmly like a tree taken between the 1870s-180s was irresistible to me. The fact that the photographer was unknown made it all the more necessary to sneak a shot, though of course the image can be found by quickly Googling the name Javan Emory.  Here’s what really gripped me when I read the card about Emory.

“Javan Van Emory was a celebrated catcher at a time when catching was dangerous and required real courage. His capabilities as a catcher during an exhibition game for a National League “proved to be so threatening that Major league baseball drew the color line in direct response.” It also goes on to describe that the regard that fans, Black and White had for him was also reflected in the unknown photographers use of dramatic light and composition as well as the “sensitivity to the different techniques required for lighting Black skin which, is modeled by highlight rather than shadow. It is also seen in the photographers decision to pose the subject in a forceful posture with direct eye contact.”

The image itself grabbed me immediately as I walked slowly passed early sports photos wherein players  had to emulate movement to communicate motion at a time when photographic methods was not yet created to capture speed. But the more I read about the image, the man, the dangers of the catchers position in early baseball and the legend of Emory’s skill, the more I loved it. I wondered what kind of man he was and who he could have been as a sports figure if he had not been held back. And I was thankful for the photographer who honorably created this portrait of Emory and allowed his powerful dignity to shine through in one image perhaps the only one that ever existed of Emory, suited up for a sport he clearly had an exceptional talent and passion for.

15 Minutes

The past few weeks at my job, I have elected to take a 15 minute break that I’ve been allowed to take since I started working here full time in 2006. I don’t know why I never elected to take it before. But in any case, during a meeting I had with my supervisor about my time, I decided I would take my 15 minute break every day at noon.

So the in the past week or so, everyday at noon I go outside. I walk. I breath in the fresh air. I look up at the sky and the clouds and I feel grateful to be outside. Often, will run an errand nearby, drop in at Sephora, shoot an Instagram story, maybe buy a snack but really, I just enjoy being outdoors, even if it is just in the city. It makes me appreciate life more and it makes the work day itself go by a little faster, a little smoother.

There is so much to be thankful for, to love and appreciate and most of the day all I hear is complaining. I need to be in a space with people who want to rejoice, to celebrate, to love and to speak about what they love and why. What’s good? What’s great? Despite everything! Lets talk about the deeper meaning behind what it means to love the life you live or to be working towards it.

Today

I just decided today after my 15 minute break that I’m using this weekend to really declutter our apartment. We’ve been there two years and still have not gotten rid of stuff we brought over from the old apartment! I’m already imagining how amazing it will be to move to our next, bigger even more wonderful space, taking only things we need because we’ve already gotten rid of everything we don’t! I mean this is doable! So I’m doing it! I’m so excited! Because I can feel it day by day when stuff is starting to pile up around me, when I buy things and then immediately forget I bought them, when I can’t remember where that thing I liked so much disappeared to or when I’m holding on to empty containers of things I know I should get rid of but I don’t.

Why do we do this?

It’s a symptom of something deeper and unresolved and the more I search and study ways to achieve peace and center, to manifest vision, the more I realize that life is actually a lot simpler than we make it, particularly if you know what you want. And the closer I get to knowing what I want the more I seek to make it as simple as possible.

I Can’t Stop Watching Weediquette

Although the season of Weediquette, hosted by Krishna Andavolu, which airs on Viceland is over I keep watching the re-reruns anyway.

From the growing concern over what the legalization of marijuana will mean for communities of smokers, to the dangers and sexism involved in the growing communities to administering it to kids to treat varying stages of Cancer, Weediquette has made me aware of the importance and influence of Cannibis beyond it’s mere recreational use.

What’s really been impressing me about the show lately, is it’s coverage of the huge impact Cannibis has as a treatment for kids with all kinds of disorders, for Veterans suffering from PTSD, from people who suffer chronically with depression. I mean, this is not a drug. This is an herbal remedy, a powerful and medicinal plant and though I do have a problem with the predominate whiteness of Cannabis businesses in the areas of America where is has become legal, there is no where else on television where I can watch the exploration of Cannabis culture discussed and studied in such an open and shameless way.

Krishna not only conducts his investigations and interviews with all manner of people in the industry, often shrouded in shadow and using voice boxes to hide their identities, but he also partakes in the medicinal concoctions and special strains created by those who specialize in that for reasons recreational, spiritual, medicinal and profit based. Sometimes he continues the interview while he’s high or tries to describe what he’s feeling. In many segments he shares that time in an altered state with his subjects in nature and we get to observe what appear to be totally blissful, sometimes, transformative and private moments.

There needs to be more shows like Weediquette about Marijuana culture, perhaps one that is focused more on it’s use in spiritual or religious practices like an adaptation of Plants of the Gods kind of thing. I would totally watch a show called Plants of the Gods.

Just sayin…

^__^

Washing the Cat or There will be Blood

Cat lovers gather around.

I’m only writing about this because I love my cat and this experience, unlike the one I vaguely recall about washing our family cat when I was a girl, was pretty freaking traumatic. I am so glad that my husband and I worked as a team on this because otherwise it would never have happened. And it needed to happen at least once.

I really hate doing things for my cat that stress him out or make him feel threatened. I only clean his paws whenever he used the litter box because of my husband. We never did that with my family cat. Cats are the cleanest animals ever. They spend like half the day cleaning themselves and sleeping. But I do it for my husband. I do it even when he’s not around. It’s our agreement.

So Thursday afternoon we’re in the bathroom filling a basin with water and using another plastic container to scoop water and generally prepping ourselves and the area while Jet stands on top of the toilet lid looking at us like, what is about to happen here? I Know you don’t think I’m getting in that right? Do you? Wait, what the hell?

And we’re all it’s okay, it’ll be all right. We got this special cat shampoo at Target formulated for sensitive cat skin by JP Mitchell himself!

Cat’s for the most part do not like being submerged in water. They’re curious about it, play with it a bit, drink it but they give no fucks about your external cleaning products and want no parts of it.

We barely lowered Jet into the basin of medium temperature water before he panicked, scrambled up the front of my husbands torso and was held there by him for the next harrowing 20 minutes or so.

There was blood.

I got a few nicks on my left hand but I barely paid attention to that. I accepted I would get scratched when we first adopted Jet. I don’t take it personally. However I was worried about my husband whom Jet was digging his claws into because of sheer horror. But my husband who loves the cat as much as I do was very very calm and instructed me to continue pouring water on our traumatized cat and to shampoo and rinse him. I looked in Jets eyes and it literally looked as if he wanted to leave his body. It was so painful for me to see that. I ran and got him some treats to eat to distract him and hopefully to give him something positive to focus on. I could see him struggling to make choices but he did eat all the treats. I kept asking my husband if he was okay, if his back was okay, because I could see the holes in his t-shirt. I was worried for both of them.

When it was over we still had to towel him off a bit because you’re not supposed to let newly washed pets walk around sopping wet. That was a little easier because we were able to let him down and he didn’t take off running or start shaking. There is nothing more pathetic and dejected looking than a wet cat.

After that he walked off to a corner by the closet and the apartment door and went to work Jetlicking himself all over. I actually sat next to him while he worked, you know just in case he needed support. LOL!!!

It was actually quite amazing. Cat tongues are the most efficient cleaning and grooming tools I have ever seen. In about half an hour he was dry, clean, soft and shiny and later on he was laid out on our bed, stomach exposed and fast asleep while my husband used the cat brush on him. Jet was loving it. Apparently he doesn’t hold grudges.

I still slept with one eye open that night though.

LOL!

Be a Beauty Alchemist

The best way to become beautiful

is to recognize who you are.

So as I mentioned earlier, I’ve been testing out some face primers and just exchanged a concealer that turned out to be too light for me for one that is my perfect brown chocolate shade. More on that later.

I realize that if I’m going to be wearing more make-up more often that I will have to take even better care of my skin, meaning more water, more regular exercise (got in a few days at the gym while off from work) and deeper daily cleansing. As an Essence Box subscriber I received a pack of Dickinsons Witch Hazel towelettes in their July Box. I’ve been experiencing an unexpected cluster of breakouts on the lower right corner of my chin since I started using Raw African Soap. I read that this could be expected in the beginning as the soap draws out impurities but it’s still annoying. I tapped two drops of tea tree on one of the towelette and dabbed my face concentrating on affected areas. It felt so good, so fresh, clean and tightening.

I went to a local Duane-Reade to look for Dickinsons or something like it but they didn’t even have pure Witch Hazel. There’s always some product enhanced by or infused with something natural as opposed to just the pure product itself. And I’m starting to realize that as my girl soulsistah4real says, ACV, Coconut Oil and Shea Butter can be used for everything! LOL!

But seriously folks.

If you strip most skin care products down, the core ingredient was something we could have at one time, grown, picked, juiced, ground, mixed, bottled and applied ourselves, things that heal, feed, cleanse, sooth and condition your skin to act as a healthy, glowing canvas for whatever you chose to decorate it with.

Face PaintMake-up is ancient! And so is skin care. Not so many years ago, pure Witch Hazel was something you could buy at most any drugstore. And there may still be some but not as many. There’s not as much money to be made if the one shelf in the skin care section only has like six or seven products. Our freedom of choice is just a marketing tool after all. The truth is there really are only a few basic skin products you need.

The rest is just make-up.

Did I ever Mention that Make-Up is also My Life?

 

28741397196_e8e026803e_oI’m in Sephora an average of 1-2 times or more a week. I know I mentioned in a previous entry that doing my nails at the counter in Sephora is literally like meditation to me. But I also have to admit that Sephora as a whole, particularly the lips, face and Nails section are my instant happy makers.

To me, make-up is just another form of art and I like make-up brands that encourage people to step outside of the usual self imposed boundaries of make-up use. Whenever I’m at Sephora, I wish that I had ten sets of eyes, and lips there because I always want to try everything and there is so much really amazing stuff out right now. Formulas for deep, rich pigments, soft finishes, wet looks, softer shimmer and more environmentally sound ingredients are on the rise. I’m like a kid in a very expensive candy store  whenever I’m there and I just decided to treat myself a little bit yesterday since I’m off from work this week and it was payday! YAY!

First I got some tools I needed at the Beauty Supply in my neighborhood, a manicure bowl and a lash curler because I’m about to master my false lash game.  That beauty supply store is the best. I also got a great pair of tweezers there for like $4 a month ago. I’ve never bought tweezers, false lashes, sponges or brushes at Sephora. I only shop Sephora for things I can only get at Sephora.

Today I was going for a new Nars shadow called Stud which is a fine high shimmery pewter color that I can never get enough of when I sample it. It makes me think of galaxies and moon dust. Also, since I’ve been abstaining from Facebook (I couldn’t stay away from IG and YT) this week I’ve started watching more Sephora make-up tutorials and oh my god, does it inspire me! I love that they have a good number of Black girls on there too, because I need to see how colors look on someone my shade before I can commit.

So I’ve been easing into this matte primer, concealer world. Because I kinda wanna be able to look professionally flawless whenever I want to and I can see that it takes a l lot more than just some foundation fix and Cover FX. A tutorial using Becca Ever Matte Poreless Primer impressed me so that was on my list as well. I knew when I went to the Milk counter I was going to get pulled into it’s tractor beam of Uniqueness and clean package design but I didn’t know I would find a concealer there I really liked that blended so easily and softly into my skin. I dotted it under my eyes the way I’ve seen it done. It worked!

I couldn’t let it go. I’d been dying to get something from Milk since I first used their eyeliner in Model/DJ, a blue so vibrant and rich that it exudes play and electricity.

I got samples of the Primer to experiment with.

I would have stayed in Sephora a lot longer if I didn’t have a cat at home to wash/torture. Anything sparkly catches my eye. Bright, bold color, shimmering things, wet shiny, gooey, sexy, playful things, things that have scent that have to be brushed on, rubbed in, feathered, blotted, sprayed, smeared, all hold a tactile, visually adventurous and transformative pleasure for me. Anything can happen! You can use colors available to you. You can create your own colors and textures! You can layers colors on one another and create a new textile on your nail! Sephora doesn’t know it but they’re my lab. I feel like a mad scientist when I go in and most of the time I come out feeling a little more magical.